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Divorce or Separation?

While certain couples may be suffering with martial problems, they may not be ready to make that official step of the divorce. For this very reason, the process of separation has been designed to give spouses a chance to make the decision to stay together, or separate, with confidence. There are varying stages of separation that can be done before a divorce, depending on what is best for you and your spouse.

Trial separation is the first step to take, as it is a period where the spouses will live separately from one another to decide if they lie the distance or they miss one another. Choosing this route does not affect any of your martial property because it is just for a time, and never meant to be permanent. Because this isn't a legal separation, property that they accumulate during their time apart he court will still consider it as marital property.

Living apart means that the spouses have chosen to continue living separately from one another and in some states the property laws will be changed by this decision. It depends on how long the couple has been separated, and if they decide to divorce the court may then consider any new property accumulated a being separate; though not always. It is important to remember that physically living separate does not mean it is a legal action unless one or both parties decide to file for separation rather than divorce.

Legal separation then is a contract that is done with the guidance of a divorce attorney and essentially the couple will draft a document similar to a divorce settlement. Here they will divide the assets, work through custody, visitation and support; without the divorce being made official yet. This process is known as a legal trial period of what it would be like to live divorced, yet with the option to reconcile at any point.

Spouses may decide to try legal separation to decide if they are ready for a divorce, or perhaps to rekindle their fondness of their spouse. It is often effective for either route, giving the spouse a chance to work through what they really want in life—to be together or apart. Here the court will discuss spousal support, even for the time of the legal separation; though it will be called separate maintenance rather than falling under alimony.

If you and your spouse are working through your marriage and feel that you are not yet ready to file for a divorce, legal separation may be the option for you. Contact Hopper, Hopper & Mulligan, PLLC today for the Raleigh divorce lawyer who can help you.

Categories: Divorce, Family Law

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Learning to laugh again....
After almost 3 years fighting with my ex-wife over everything, I was recently awarded primary custody of my children, child support, and allowed to leave the state, something that I understand is not so common in North Carolina --fathers being awarded custody that is. Thanks to Kevin Hopper, the kids and I are finally moving past the nightmare and learning to laugh again.
- Newton
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